Arts and Culture

Filmmaker Clifton Archuleta finds room to Breathe in Pueblo

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What's the takeaway you want people to get from this film? Is it about the latchkey-kid problem?

All my films deal with coming of age and, to some degree, acceptance. The takeaway in a specific way is that I would like people to think about this as more of a reality. We gave the sister asthma on purpose. My sister had asthma; I grew up a latchkey kid. I grew up too fast. I remember knowing things that all my friends didn't know because I had basically lived more life at that age. But I was underdeveloped in other ways.

For me, it's important that people think about the situation and how it affects youth. I'm not trying to drill a message into your head, I just want you to think about this. Perhaps you'll be compelled to get involved, whether it's a youth organization or something supporting asthma. The takeaway is more complex: to see it as a reality and relate it to your own life.

What kind of budget are you working with for your films, and how did you acquire those funds?

It varies, but with this film we raised about $6,000 through a funding site indiegogo -- it's like kickstarter. That came on the cusp of releasing my last film online after a somewhat successful film festival. That garnered some support for the next project. At this point, that's how I've been doing it.

While in school, it was a lot of self-funding. I raised a total of about $4,500 for Broken Cycle, and I won some awards that helped me pay for film festival submissions and what-not. That's it right now.

Making a short film for $5,000 is reasonable. Breathe was more expensive because we shot in Pueblo. In Denver everyone can stay here and just show up, but there we had to feed people more and get hotels and pay for fuel.

How did you assemble your actors for Breathe?

I don't usually use actors. I use untrained actors, who are then actors after the film. The majority of the cast of Broken Cycle was untrained, and all of this cast were untrained actors, except the lead from Broken Cycle played a part in this film. A couple of the kids were from Pueblo. I did casting here in Denver of trained and untrained actors. I was not finding what I wanted and what I felt the story needed, so I started casting in Pueblo.

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Natalie Gonzalez